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Old 25-11-2009, 15:36   #1
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Thanks! (For all the fish, for you sci-fi's, and for the Cornflakes, for the rest)

Thanks! (For all the fish, for you sci-fi's, and for the Cornflakes, for the rest)

Hi, all,

At this time of year, we Americans are reminded of the bounteous blessings we have in this, our transitory life. I could go on, and on (no, I won't, for once!)...

I'm totally blessed to be living the dream, long in coming, as those who followed our adventures for the last 10 years or so to get to where we are today know. Here in Marsh Harbour, and the surrounding Abacos in the Bahamas, we're additionally reminded of our bounty:

We're healthy
We're happy
We're surrounded by friends electronic, in the flesh, and in other cruisers
We're warm enough/cool enough
We're dry, when it's wet
We're adequately fed
We have funds sufficient to survive for a while.
We, barring some surprise, expect to live for quite a while, yet

Not everyone has that privilege, most starkly brought home to us in our travels. My father and Lydia's mother are in their twilights, my father much more so, prompting contemplation of a trip to the US while he still can recognize me. We've, otherwise, seen anywhere from outlandish luxury to obscene poverty in our travels.

However, one recent series of events here in Marsh Harbour has our attention. I'll turn over the pen to Lydia for a guest posting; those of you receiving her log (the google one in the list at the end of my signature) have already seen it. Many of those of you have asked if you could pass it around. Those same have already received our enthusiastic approval. So, consider that request granted to those reading it, now, for the first time. Nobody will send you a new Ford, give you a discount at Applebees, a free laptop or whatever else the usual spam blandishments promise if you do. Nor will you be, somehow, cursed, if you don't.

But, if you're so moved, please do disseminate it far and wide - you'll see why when you read the following (begin Lydia's guest appearance):

Subject: Making a Difference and The Price of Cornflakes


If youíre not an animal lover, you may as well skip this particular log entry. Just go ahead and exit the site, or move on to the next email, (depending upon how you receive this) because what Iím about to talk about will only deeply affect those who have large hearts for Godís creatures.

Hereís a story for you:

Back in the fall of 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and happened upon Cuba, which he claimed for Spain. Among the many things he brought ashore were his Spanish horses, beautiful creatures bred for their hardiness, endurance and courageous spirit, and with them, Columbus established two horse farms on the island.

Fast forward 400 years.

At the turn of the 20th century, the forest on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas, was being clear-cut, and logged. Not having any modern machinery in those days, nor work animals on the island, they brought in horses from Cuba to drag the logs out of the forest. Many years later, when tractors became available, the horses were abandoned and turned loose in the forest to fend for themselves, obsolete, cast away. Bred to survive harsh conditions, they made the sun scorched island and the regenerating forest their home, and they thrived despite all odds.

Today, DNA samples prove that the wild horses of Abaco, which are now recognized by the Horses of Americas Registry as Abaco Barbs, are direct, undiluted descendants of the Spanish horses introduced to Cuba by Christopher Columbus in 1492, and brought to Abaco in the late 1800s. There are no similar horses in Cuba today. As of this date, only 6 horses remain from a herd of about 200, on the verge of extinction for the second time in recent years. These beautiful creatures have become endangered by the environmental changes brought about by man; the road which cut through their forest, the relentless clear-cutting of same, the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by men who hunted and slaughtered them, the fires which destroyed their natural grazing source, the poisonous weeds that grew up in the aftermath of bulldozing. Against all odds, these 6 remaining Abaco Barbs, known to be the most endangered breed of horse on our planet, continue to fight courageously for their survival.

That, effectively, is the end of the story. Most people really donít care. The Bahamian government doesnít seem to much care, either.

But thereís one woman here in Marsh Harbour, who lives on her boat, and who devotes her life to preventing the extinction of the Abaco Barbs. Skip and I met with her today, to see how we could help, how we could give back, how we can make a difference. Weíll start by volunteering our time in the Buck-a-Book bookstore, where, not surprisingly, books cost a buck, and all the money generated goes to the non-profit fund for the horses. And the fund needs money badly.

Now, if I were to ask you whether you thought you could afford to spend $10 a month on eating out, youíd tell me not to be ridiculous. Of course you canít eat out for $10/month. You canít even buy lunch for two at McDonalds for $10. Iím not even sure that you can buy a 6-pack of Bud Lite for $10 (you definitely canít in the Abacos), and I know for an absolute fact that $10 wonít get you more than two boxes of Cornflakes anymore. Iíve thought about this a lot Ė Skip and I are on a tight budget out here - and Iíve concluded that in todayís economy, you canít really do very much at all for $10/month.

But you could make an enormous difference for the Abaco Barbs for $10/month. If we all did it Ė if everyone of us who gets this log did it, (which doesnít include the non-members who simply log in and read from the site), weíd have generated $6750 in one month. In ONE month!! That amount of money would go a long way towards catching up the wages for the two loyal men who stand watch over the 5 miles of fence around the horses (constantly weeding around it and repairing it, among other things), who havenít had a paycheck since July, but are still working, such is their devotion.

I donít know how you feel about your raison díetre, but I believe that if I see an opportunity to make a positive difference in this world, Iím obliged to take it. I mean, really Ė if you are reading this log, I can safely say that we all agree with that, right?

So, for $10 every month, I am going to be a part of preserving the oldest, and most endangered breed of horse on this earth. Iím going to help repair the damage that mankind caused these creatures; Iím going to help stave off their extinction for at least another month. Iím doing it for the horses, and Iím doing it for my grandchildren, and your grandchildren, and all their grandchildren, and the beautiful planet we live on.

I think that most of us could scratch up $10 each month from the change under the seats of our cars and our sofas, not to mention what gets left in our pockets in the laundry hamper. Would you help me?

Please take the time to look at the site Ė The Abaco Wild Horse Fund, Inc..

Please click the donation button. I already have.

--
Love, Lydia

S/V Flying Pig
Morgan 46 #2
"The only way to live is to have a dream green and growing in your life - anything else is just existing and is a waste of breath."
Ann Davison

(end Lydia's guest post)


Well, that's what she had to say. I can't add much - other than that I've had hands-on with these beautiful animals, and wish you could have the same experience...

L8R

Skip, thankful

Morgan 461 #2
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Old 25-11-2009, 15:59   #2
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Great story...........going to the web site now.
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Old 25-11-2009, 17:18   #3
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Ditto.
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Old 26-11-2009, 06:49   #4
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I wonder what deleterious effect(s) this invasive species may have (& continues to have) had on the native flora/fauna?
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Old 26-11-2009, 06:52   #5
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A number of years ago, the feral donkeys here on Nevis became such a plague on farmers and homeowners that a large number of them were rounded up and shipped over to Guadeloupe.
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Old 26-11-2009, 07:03   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
I wonder what deleterious effect(s) this invasive species may have (& continues to have) had on the native flora/fauna?
Jeez that's quite a slap in the face, and not at all what I've come to expect from you and your posts. I guess you're entitled to your opinion. Mine (as a biologist) is that after 100+ years on an island that small, the environment has pretty much adopted to the presence of the horses. Sadly, with a population of 6, it's somewhat semantic anyway, they're unlikely to reestablish themselves as a healthy herd. Nonetheless, they'll see a donation from me, even if it's just a futile gesture.
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Old 26-11-2009, 08:56   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete33458 View Post
Jeez that's quite a slap in the face, and not at all what I've come to expect from you and your posts. I guess you're entitled to your opinion. Mine (as a biologist) is that after 100+ years on an island that small, the environment has pretty much adopted to the presence of the horses. Sadly, with a population of 6, it's somewhat semantic anyway, they're unlikely to reestablish themselves as a healthy herd. Nonetheless, they'll see a donation from me, even if it's just a futile gesture.
Thanks, Pete, for your donation and comments.

However, Gord's question isn't a slap in the face, but apparently just uninformed, and, presumed, without having visited the site.

However, it's worth noting a couple of things:

First, the area they're in was clearcut and burned, very long ago. They couldn't have had much effect on any flora, even when there were a couple hundred of them.

Second, I know of no fauna which are vulnerable to horses - BICBW.

Third, they've been awarded 3800 acres by the government, which is fenced electrically (the 5 miles referenced as needing constant maintenance, and, needing, badly, another 4 which hasn't even been started for lack of funds), minimizing any effect they might have on the rest of the island. Having been there, I can tell you for certain that the flora is thriving in their compound, as it's dense and, aside from the trails they've made as they browse, impenetrable without a machete. From that I presume flora haven't been hurt, much, and, perhaps, benefit from the manure.

Fourth, as to their survivability, that's a given - but cloning is under very close review, and, after a few hurdles are jumped, it will happen. The hurdles (such as the government refusing to allow a permit for care by the vet referenced, one who couldn't possibly be depriving any local vet, as there are no large-animal vets in the Bahamas, and the single vet on Abaco is the one to whom Mimi goes for all the hundreds of cats and dogs she ALSO rescues - our trip out there was punctuated by her stopping to feed a couple of dogs at the side of the road, and seeing the 9 dogs she's rescued and personally feeds and houses on the compound) are entirely governmental; nobody in government in the Bahamas does anything without getting their palm greased or profiting from some business arrangement. One of the folks we met commented that it's the local version of lobbyists :{/) - scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Except there's no profit in this, so paperwork gets lost or trashed, and "consideration" of any matter WRT this subject, when it's even acknowledged, goes on for years, and THEN gets dropped into the round file when they think the excitement has blown over.

The vet who's happy to pay her own way (internationally known as a horse specialist, and endangered species specialist, with not only a DVM but a doctorate in Chemistry, she travels the world on her own pocket, helping out) has made a substantial donation, and a friend of hers has not only also sent a donation but offered land and care in FL for the horses, for the time when Mimi (who's very concerned about what will happen when she's gone - she's been at this many years, now, and virtually nothing has happened without her) can no longer care for them.

So, there's definitely hope - but a critical lack of funds. The workers (who I can't imagine staying, let alone surviving) are in arrears more than 5K each, on an already low wage. Much of daily expenses are fronted by Mimi, in addition to her other animal rescue efforts which are solely hers, not having any support from the outside - just because she cares.

So, that's about it (unless you want the very long version, in which case I commend a visit to Marsh Harbour to you). If this motivates you (it did me, and I'm not the least bit a "horse person"), not only click the donation button, but spread it around to all the distributions you know.

As a result of my and Lydia's logs (the google and yahoo groups in my original sig line), we have several folks who have asked if they could put it out, in very different venues, and, as well, the Seven Seas Cruising Association, who contacted Lydia directly to ask if they could put it in their bulletin, as soon as space allowed. That's 4k+ subscriptions; some of them will be motivated, just as some here have been. But getting it outside the cruising and wannabee community will be the best way to make it go viral...

Sorry to be long-winded, as usual, but I thought, since anyone following this thread would obviously have more than a passing interest, that some more detail might be useful...

L8R

Skip, thankful for SO many things, this US Thanksgiving Day
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Old 26-11-2009, 09:02   #8
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its been some years since i was there but I remember the horse roaming unfenced, and they would be around the edge of town, they were very thin and not looking that good back then , Good Luck to them !
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Old 26-11-2009, 10:26   #9
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Thanks for your informative replies, gentlemen. I am less ignorant now, than when I posed my (clumsy) question.
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Old 26-11-2009, 17:57   #10
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Columbus was a dork. He looked for gold while the best thing they have in Cuba is Havana Club!

Now I understand the idea of Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for Havana Club! If you are less than 7 y.o., please do not apply!

b.
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